President Barack Obama has released a statement on the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez:”At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government. As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.”
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro said earlier Tuesday that the 58-year-old Chavez had died of complications from an undisclosed type of pelvic cancer.
Relations between the U.S. and Venezuela have been strained under both Obama and President George W. Bush. Upon Obama’s election in 2008, Chavez praised it as a “historic” moment and potential turning point in relations. But by March 2009, Chavez called Obama “ignorant.” In 2011, Chavez referred to Obama as a “clown” and an “embarrassment.”
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